"Workmanship of Risk"

The seasons are flying by... so says the red maple in the backyard.

In my previous post on the Jeffersonian Book Stand, I showed the test drive of the carousel rotating on the center post. The next task is to glue the post to the base. A short section of railroad track is just the trick to hold the post in position while the glue sets. Just don't bump into it! Checking, double checking and triple checking the squareness of the post and base during glue-up paid off, as the post is now square and the carousel is good to go.

Now I can turn my attention to the top, and top panel. Here I'm applying a couple coats of shellac to the top panel for protection while I plane the panel edges and start with the hinge mortising operation.

The hinge mortising starts with a small router to accurately establish the mortise depth. I guide the router freehand, just getting comfortably close to the line.

I follow that up with a good, sharp chisel, cutting all the way to my scribe line.

It fits!

The book ledge on the top is now positioned in its rough form using 1/8" diameter locating pins. This critical step allows me to then shape the rough book ledge to precisely align with the joints in the panel parquetry... most especially, the miters at each end.

With the surfaces prepared on the top panel and book ledge, I apply another coat of shellac and set them aside to dry.

Then, I switch gears and go back to the machines to cut the side panels to final size. I close out this week by diving into the half-day effort of flattening and preparing the side panel surfaces.

As I invest more and more time into each part, I find myself reflecting back on the words of David Pye and his description of craftsmanship.

"If I must ascribe a meaning to the word craftsmanship, I shall say as a first approximation that it means simply workmanship using any kind of technique or apparatus, in which the quality of the result is not predetermined, but depends on the judgment, dexterity and care which the maker exercises as he works. The essential idea is that the quality of the result is continually at risk during the process of making; and so I shall call this kind of workmanship 'The workmanship of risk': an uncouth phrase, but at least descriptive." ― David Pye, The Nature and Art of Workmanship

The more time and effort I invest, the more his words ring true. Mr. Pye continues on in the book to contrast this idea with that of manufacturing, which by its nature is "Workmanship of certainty". I feel that certainty may be comforting, but it is precisely the uncertainty of craftsmanship that allows one to put their heart into what it is that they make.

Tomorrow, I'll get going on the hinge mortises on the top edges of the side panels. The next couple of days will be filled with hinge mortising and fitting of the side panels to the carousel.

Hej då and happy shavings!

Craig